Hofstadter, Robert, 1915-1990

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1915-02-05
Death 1990-11-17
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Physicist, educator.

From the description of Reminiscences of Robert L. Hofstadter : oral history, 1964. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122684312

Hofstadter died in 1990.

From the description of Response to 1988 History of Nuclear Physics Survey, 1985-1988. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81639533

Robert (Rubvin) Hofstadter was born in New York City, on February 5, 1915. He attended the City College of New York (CCNY) and received his B.S. degree magna cum laude. He attended graduate school at Princeton University and received both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics in 1938. From 1938-1939, he held a Procter Fellowship at Princeton for postdoctoral work. In 1939, Hofstadter received the Harrison Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he helped to construct a large Van de Graaff machine for nuclear research. During World War II, he worked at the National Bureau of Standards and the Norden Laboratory Corporation. After the war, he returned to Princeton as Assistant Professor of Physics, where he researched crystal conduction counters, the Compton effect, and scintillation counters. In 1950, Hofstadter left Princeton to become Associate Professor of Physics at Stanford University, where he began research on electron scattering with a linear accelerator. While building equipment for the electron-scattering experiments, he continued working on scintillation counters and developed new detectors for neutrons and X-rays. Hofstadter was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1958 and was named California Scientist of the Year in 1959. In 1961, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics based on his electron scattering studies of the nucleon. From 1967-1974, Hofstadter directed the High Energy Physics Laboratory at Stanford. He went on to collaborate with colleagues at Stanford's School of Medicine in the development of synchrotron radiation and K-edge subtraction for coronary angiography (a diagnostic technique which uses radioactive substances in place of catheters to test heart function). In his later years he worked with NASA physicists and technicians to design the Energetic Gamma-Ray Experimental Telescope (EGRET), which was one of four instruments equipped for the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory Satellite.

From the description of Robert Hofstadter papers, 1931-1992. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 497929062

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Robert (Rubvin) Hofstadter was born in New York City, on February 5, 1915. He was one of four children of Polish immigrants, Louis and Henrietta (Koenigsberg) Hofstadter. Hofstadter was educated in New York City and attended the City College of New York (CCNY) receiving his B.S. degree magna cum laude.

Hofstadter attended graduate school at Princeton University and received both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics in 1938 His Ph.D. work was concerned with infrared spectra of simple organic molecules, and in particular, with the structure of the hydrogen bond. From 1938-1939, he held a Procter Fellowship at Princeton for postdoctoral work, during which he began a study of photoconductivity in willemite crystals. In 1939, Hofstadter received the Harrison Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he helped to construct a large Van de Graaff machine for nuclear research.

During World War II Hofstadter worked at the National Bureau of Standards and the Norden Laboratory Corporation. After the war, he returned to Princeton as Assistant Professor of Physics, where he researched crystal conduction counters, the Compton effect, and scintillation counters.

In 1950, with the encouragement of colleagues Leonard Schiff and Felix Bloch, Hofstadter left Princeton to become Associate Professor of Physics at Stanford University, where he began research on electron scattering with a linear accelerator. While building equipment for the electron-scattering experiments, he continued working on scintillation counters and developed new detectors for neutrons and X-rays. Other research conducted during Hofstadter’s early years at Stanford concerned cosmic rays and with cascade showers generated by high-speed electrons.

Hofstadter was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1958 and was named California Scientist of the Year in 1959. In 1961, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics based on his electron scattering studies of the nucleon.

From 1967-1974, Hofstadter directed the High Energy Physics Laboratory at Stanford. He went on to collaborate with colleagues at Stanford’s School of Medicine in the development of synchrotron radiation and K-edge subtraction for coronary angiography (a diagnostic technique which uses radioactive substances in place of catheters to test heart function). In his later years he worked with NASA physicists and technicians to design the Energetic Gamma-Ray Experimental Telescope (EGRET), which was one of four instruments equipped for the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory Satellite.

Hofstadter passed away in November of 1990, just prior to EGRET’s launch in 1991. His contributions were commemorated with a plaque that was attached to the observatory.

Hofstadter married Nancy Givan of Baltimore, Maryland in 1942. They were the parents of one son, Douglas, and two daughters, Laura and Mary.

From the guide to the Robert Hofstadter papers, 1931-1992, (Department of Special Collections and University Archives)

Loading...

Loading Relationships

Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6z89swv
Ark ID:
w6z89swv
SNAC ID:
43310719

Subjects:

  • Research
  • Proximity fuzes--Research
  • Physicists--Interviews
  • Pulsars--Detection
  • Electron--Research
  • Nucleon-nucleon scattering
  • Scattering (Physics)
  • Form factor (Nuclear physics)
  • Electrons--Scattering
  • Aircraft--Research
  • Educator--Interviews
  • Physics--Study and teaching
  • Muons
  • Laser fusion
  • Angiography
  • Nuclear physics--Research
  • Linear accelerators
  • World War, 1939-1945--Science
  • Physics--Research
  • Nobel prizes
  • Physics
  • Nobel Prize winners
  • Particles (Nuclear physics)
  • Gamma rays

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

not available for this record